Browse the aisles of any pharmacy or drug store and you’ll find shelf after shelf of various acne products, all promising to not just cure your breakouts but to give you clear and beautiful skin. Since they all promise the same thing, how can you make a decision as to which of these acne products actually work, and how can you be sure you’re using them properly for best results?
It’s best to really understand just how serious and potent many of these medications actually are because almost all of them contain ingredients that are very strong on the skin; this means that they can actually address your acne, but they can also do damage when overused or used improperly. Most acne products contain benzoyl peroxide; just the fact that it has the word “peroxide” in its name should clue you in as to how strong it is. Peroxide is good for drying up the oil that is caught inside a pore or hair follicle that becomes acne, but like other acne products, too much of it on the skin is going to damage the healthy skin cells. Think of when you apply peroxide to a cut or open sore; it does the job on the open wound but using too much on your uncut skin means that it gets dry, red, and irritated. This is true of the skin on your face; using too much of any of these acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide on your face can mean irritated and even damaged skin.
Astringents are common acne products and these usually contain alcohol which dries up the excess oil on the face. But keep in mind that the skin needs oil for its own health. If your face did not have oil it would become scaly and leathery. The body’s slowdown of oil production is one reason that people get wrinkles as they get older. But when you overuse acne products that contain alcohol the good oil that is necessary and healthy for your skin can also make it red, irritated, scaly, dry, and itchy. It can also cause the body to overcompensate by sending the oil glands into overdrive, producing even more oil than before.
When it comes to making a decision about acne products you need to be very cautious. Most do treat the problems that cause acne but many can be very harsh as well. It’s usually a good idea to start with something that has a very small percentage or concentration of any of these ingredients and try that for a good month or two. It’s also good to avoid using more than one of these acne products together. Too many products can result in the skin becoming overly dry.
And when shopping for acne products, be sure you get some good moisturizer as well; yes, men, this means you too! All that good oil and moisture that your skin needs to be healthy should be replaced when using these harsh acne products.